First of all, MadC is like a colorimetric shock, there is no need to go into filthy sheds or train depots to be aware of that. On the other side, there is the size aspect of it. With her huge “frescoes” which, despite of what legal graffiti offers nowadays around the globe, she has undoubtedly painted the largest graffiti on earth reaching 680 m2. For over 15 years, MadC has been sharpening and developing a modern geometric style and has been able revitalise a discipline that at the end of the day isn’t as young as we believe. We’ve met a woman that has reached a place among the best writers in the world...
Jacker / Tell us about your first graffiti, and your background ...
Mad C / I did my first graffiti in 1996, in middle of the day, on the back of a garage of a small town... I read this book called “Graffiti in Germany” that I got from a friend and I was just fascinated by the whole subculture and I gave it a go. It wasn’t such a terrible idea at the end (laughs). I thought it would be easier for me to handle a spray can as I painted a lot before. But as a matter of fact it was very difficult. I was drawing and painting a lot already when I was a child. Before I started graffiti, I was taking art class in sculpting, drawing, painting and so on and so forth. It has always been my thing. When I discovered graffiti, I decided it would be the essence of my life. Actually, I decided at the early age of 14 -15 that I wanted to be an artist or designer... something in between those lines.
M / So, how did this passion for letters and fonts developed ?
J / When I started with graffiti, I was fascinated by the idea of creating a second identity through an a.k.a. The first things I draw were letters and characters. Only after some time, I discovered that I was able to do a lot more with different types of fonts. In my opinion the reason is because you can express much more with the shape of a letter simply because you don’t reflect your personal interpretation. If you see a face or an animal, you always connect to your own subjectivity. It’s a different way of thinking. Letters are very abstract so people don’t infer their own experience into them. I think you can do a lot more with that. When I started studying graphic design in 2000, I took special classes in calligraphy, from classic fonts to roman letters... all the different fonts possible. That was actually the first time when I started combining classic fonts and graffiti art. Studying classic calligraphy was in fact of utmost importance... Even nowadays I still prefer all these different types of fonts than painting faces. Painting characters can support the painting as a whole but I think that different types of policies are a lot more interesting and offer a broader range of possibilities. With policies I don’t need to keep the right proportions.
J / Do you have a vandal background ?
M / Yeah, actually, I had a different name only known by 2 or 3 people, it’s my second identity (laughs). I only use that name when I paint illegal stuff outside Germany. I also used my name too and ended up in jail and all that stuff that you go through as a graffiti artist.
J / Nowadays, do you still sketch or do you directly paint your ideas into walls ?
M / That’s actually something that changed over time. At the beginning I was sketching a lot, also because I was a bit insecure on the walls and I had to learn the technique and all that shizzle... Thus, I was more comfortable using a sketch but nowadays when I make a sketch, it’s just very rough lines on a paper, but if its for a small wall, I usually do it freestyle. So there isn’t that much sketching anymore. It’s only when I’m working on a nice canvas or something more elaborated thatI draw some sketchy lines, but I don’t really sketch anymore, at least I haven’t sketched anything for quite a while now.
J / You’ve travelled across the world. Which is your favourite spot ?
M / Generally, countries that don’t know what graffiti is. For example, Lebanon, when I was in Lebanon I was the first person ever who painted a graffiti there. It’s practically the same story for South America, that of course has a big culture there, but in general the graffiti culture is still very young. I like that because people aren’t so spoiled. They really appreciate paintings and when somebody paints their wall. So, they are not so prejudiced, not so negative to graffiti like in other western countries. Graffiti artists themselves are eager to learn and they are really positive too, so there isn’t that much negativity in the whole graffiti world there.
J / We can see that you’re always listening to music while you painting, what sort of music do you listen to ?
M / I get that question a lot. And actually I don’t listen to music. I listen to audiobooks. That’s one reason why I don’t like it to be interrupted while I’m painting. On one hand, I concentrate on the wall, and on the other hand, I concentrate on the story that is being told. So, when somebody talks to me, I loose the threat, and I have to stop my audiobook, so that’s pretty annoying. I listen to all sorts of books, biographies, and thrillers, really everything. The Jurassic Park book was very nice. I was listening to that one while painting the Jurassic wall. It really depends on the mood of the day. Sometimes when I start a wall on freestyle I listen to music for like the first half an hour. And that’s more stuff like Radiohead, the Killers, Florence and the machine...
J / Tell us about your projects for 2013.
M / There are loads of little things here and there. This year I’m focusing a lot more on painting canvases since I have my first solo show at Lefebvre’s gallery in Paris next year’s spring. It’s going to be a quite big show. There are going to be loads of installations too and things like that. I’m also going to travel a bit to Norway and Sweden to paint in several cities. I will paint a wall in London too and another movie wall. Don’t know yet which movie it’s going to be, but I have a quite big wall for it. I’ve also been invited to Ecuador and Turkey so I might be going there too. I was also thinking about starting a new book, but I’m not sure of how much time I will have this year to do it, so I’m basically just outlining the content of the book. I’m not going to restart on it, but I’m going to organise my thoughts on it a little.
J / Can you say something about the crews you belong to ?
M / I form part of three crews. The main one is Bandits from Dresden. I’ve joined them in 2001, to me they’re very old friends. I’m also in the One Heart Crew from New York. I joined when I was living in New York, I met them and they also became good friends too. The other one is StickUpKids, founded by Can2. Those three are the only crews I form part of. Graffiti crews aren’t about fame to me but about friendship and having support from good people. So, I don’t really like huge crews with people just joining for the name or something like this.
J / Who are the artists you like to paint with ?
M / Actually, I’m really alone. I don’t really like to paint that much with other people. I really like people who like to work by themselves. But when I paint with other people, it only happens with those of my crews that I just mentioned. I also like the guys from the LoveLettersCrew a lot, because I’ve known them for a long time already. I think I met them back in 2003 or something like that. Swet from Dänemark is also a good friend of mine. Basically I only paint with people I’m friends with.
J / Do you prefer canvas or walls ?
M / I like both. They are both very important to me. Some years ago, it was difficult to me to paint on canvases because I didn’t really get the energy to do it, but that’s not a problem anymore. I actually can’t imagine not painting canvases or not painting walls. When I’m fed up with canvases, I go for walls and vice-versa.
J / Last word for the end ?
M / I think that the graffiti culture should be a bit more open- minded in general. I think it already began thanks to the whole street art movement. It’s important that people don’t follow all these crazy rules that we had 20, 40 or 50 years ago when creating something new and don’t make the same thing over and over again.